Retailers should refocus their strategy to treat consumers as “omni-customers” as opposed to treating themselves as omni-channel retailers, according to director of e-commerce for Italian brand OVS Spa, Monica Gagliardi.
She argues that retailers are too busy focusing on providing separate services across all channels as opposed to providing a unified and consistent service to a customer who uses several channels to shop.
“I never speak about a customer, to me it’s omni-customer and I work a lot on ensuring that my store is inside the mobile,” says Gagliardi.
“I can follow my customer, or better my customer can communicate with me anywhere and at any time, thanks to the app. The app for me is the passport of the omni-channel experience.”
Mobile first retail experience
Two years ago, OVS worked with Demandware to introduce a new e-commerce platform, as the line between physical and digital retail was disappearing.
But, once e-commerce was established, the firm worked on integrating the platform with its mobile experience, and went on to introduce a mobile application which could be used with in-store beacons to create a more integrated experience.
Gagliardi says OVS wanted to cover as many channels as possible “to reach the customers in the best touch points, but in a seamless, cool and innovative way”.
Customers can use the OVS mobile application as the first point of contact with the retailer. It enables them to buy online, view collections, choose click and collect or make product wishlists.
Addtionally, when a store is nearby, a push notification will be sent to the customer’s phone encouraging them to visit.
The use of the application doesn’t stop in-store, as customers can use it to scan products and find out more about them, search for garments in their size or even order for home delivery if the store doesn’t have what they need.
Digital leadership and social push
Gagliardi says that in Italy, OVS – which has a 5.2% market share in the country – is an upmarket brand and therefore she wanted to ensure it was seen as an innovator in its space.
“As a leader, we always want, not only to follow, but to anticipate the needs of the customer,” she says.
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In Italy, 50% of children dress in the OVS brand and Gagliardi wants to make sure the OVS experience builds a reputation with the next generation as a trendsetter for how fashion and the retail experience should be.
The importance of social media is a growing trend in the retail space, and driving customer engagement and an open dialogue about a brand is helping to drive loyalty and sales.
Customers are encouraged to use the app to engage with the OVS brand, as well as through social media platforms.
OVS focuses on Facebook, asking customers to vote for their favourite look, which will then be discounted for customers who interacted with the brand as a reward for loyalty.
In-store the application allows customers to share their look in the dressing rooms using a quick response code on the dressing room mirror.
“It’s important that if my customer stays at home, if my customer is in-store, if my customer uses mobile, if my customer uses the interactive kiosk system, if my customer uses the website or if my customer talks with a shopping assistant, in each time and place my customer feels the best way about the OVS brand,” says Gagliardi.
Using Demandware to cater to the omni-customer
As director of e-commerce, Gagliardi is responsible for driving innovation of digital and omni-channel experience for OVS, but Demandware’s input was important for OVS.
It was important to provide a responsive application to ensure it is platform-agnostic, she says, so that no matter how a customer chooses to interact with the brand they have a good experience.
“I can imagine so many activities for my customers and I always say that OVS’s mission is to share beauty and style in a democratic way,” Gagliardi says.
OVS implemented its omni-channel strategy on the Demandware platform and the software firm handled the integration of OVS's offline and online services.
“Demandware is my technology partner because it helped me to create the best experience in a seamless way,” concludes Gagliardi.